Skip Navigation

Southern Oregon University

We all know that going to college is a big adjustment. For students with disabilities and their parents, there are also differences in how services are provided. Knowing what changes can make the adjustment much easier, so we've provided below some information to help you sort out those changes.



High School


Applicable Laws

I.D.E.A. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)

A.D.A. (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title II)

Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973

I.D.E.A. is about success

A.D.A. is about access

Required Documentation

I.E.P. (Individual Education Plan) and/or 504 plan

High school I.E.P. or 504 plan are not sufficient. Documentation guidelines specify information needed for each category of disability.

School provides evaluation at no cost to student or family

Student must get evaluation at own expense. Insurance may or may not cover some of this expense.

Documentation focuses on determining whether student is eligible for services based on specific disability categories in I.D.E.A.

Documentation must provide information on specific functional limitations and demonstrate the need for specific accommodations


Student is identified by the school and is supported by parents and teachers

Student must self-identify to the Disability Services for Students office

Primary responsibility for arranging accommodations belongs to the school

Primary responsibility for self-advocacy and arranging accommodations belongs to the student

Teachers approach you if they believe you need assistance

Professors are usually open and helpful, but most expect you to initiate contact if you need assistance

Parental Role

Parent has access to student records and can participate in the accommodation process

Parent does not have access to student records without student’s written consent (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

Parent advocates for student

Student advocates for self


Teachers may modify curriculum and/or alter pace of assignments

Professors are not required to modify the fundamental objectives of course or alter assignment deadlines

Students are expected to read short assignments that are then discussed and often re-taught in class

Students are assigned substantial amounts of reading and writing which may not be directly addressed in class

Students seldom need to read anything more than once, and sometimes listening in class is enough

Students need to review class notes, texts, and other materials regularly

Grades and Tests

IEP or 504 plan may include modifications to test format and/or grading

Grading and test format changes (i.e., multiple choice vs. essay) are generally not available. Accommodations to HOW tests are given (extended time, reduced-distraction area) are available when supported by disability documentation

Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of material

Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material

Makeup tests are often available

Makeup tests are seldom an option; if they are, students need to request them from the instructor

Teachers often take time to remind students of assignments and due dates

Professors expect students to read, save, and consult the course syllabus; the syllabus spells out exactly what is expected, when it is due, and how it will be graded

Study Responsibilities

Tutoring and study support may be a service provided as part of an IEP or 504 plan

Tutoring does not fall under Disability Services. Students with disabilities must seek out tutoring resources.

Student time and assignments are structured by others

Students must manage own time and complete assignments independently

Students may study outside class as little as 0 to 2 hours a week, and this may mostly be last-minute test preparation

Students are expected to study at least 2-3 hours outside of class for each hour in class. For a 3 credit class, this means 6-9 hours per week.